***WARNING RUINS OF CANDOLOLIAN SPOILER***(Aw, Who am I kidding? If you don't read this you won't know anything about Candololian anyhow. Maybe the warning is for later)
So gentle read bear with us as our tale continues. Having avoided certain doom in the Battle of the blue mist (there is a way to escape but its not going to be easy), the party rests in the secret elven watch post. The next day an elven ranger takes them to the graveyard of Candololian which is still outside the mist and shows them the right button to push on the right crypt to reveal a hidden stairway which leads to an underground passageway. After travelling north along the passageway about a mile ( a distance which they reckon puts them well within the mists) the passage turns 45 degrees to the east. Lying on the left side of the passage is an elven skeleton carrying a longbow. Nimbly avoiding the poison spike trap marked by the skeleton they fail to notice the portcullis until it comes slamming down behind them. They continue around a few turns and arrive at a set of double doors. On opening the set of double doors they enter a 30'x30' chamber with a large throne and no obvious exits other than the double doors. Seated on the throne is a skeletal form in black robes with glowing red eyes (old school DMs should recognize this monster immediately). The skeletal form informs them that he can take them further, but once he does there is no turning back, they must conquer all or be doomed to fight for ever. The party, bold adventurers that they are, inform him no thank you and immediately begin to comb the corridor they came down for secret passages. The do find a secret door which leads to a chamber with the windlass to raise the portcullis. They raise the portcullis and "high tail it" back to the watch post. There they consult with the elven princess. She thanks them for returning the skeleton of one her rangers, but informs them she can provide little more assistance than she already has. She has already lost too many rangers trying to reach the center of Candololian, and will not jeopardize the mission to watch Candololian while her liege the elf king still lives. How does she know he still lives, she has an amulet which glows as long as he is alive (this will prove of interest to the party later). She hands them some healing potions, tells them chin up and try again tomorrow. They head back the next day and after hearing the crypt thing's speech again inform them "Yes, yes they are are ready to hazard all". Some get cold feet after the first few disappear in a puff of black smoke, but decide that keeping party together is more important than chickening out, so eventually everyone accepts the crypt thing's offer. They are teleported to several 10' wide 70' corridors each party member to his own individual 10' separated from the next nearest party member by 10'. They establish by shouting that all the corridors are connected. However when they attempt to move back together they discover the true sinister nature of their location the empty 10' squares are all pit traps each with its own spear wielding skeleton warrior (No big shakes for the elven ranger, but it was touch and go for the sorcerer). After dealing with the pits they are able to establish there are four corridors which form a closed loop. In middle of the north most corridor there is a set of double doors which lead to 30'x30' chamber just like the crypt things except here the throne is empty. After various machinations and some grumblings about how long it might take to starve to death, they finally decide to search for secret doors in the pits themselves. Yes there are secret doors in the pits. Where do these secret doors lead? Why 10'x10' chambers with no visible exits. Ignoring one of my newer players stentorian pronouncements "Dave would never put a secret door behind another secret door" the more experienced players ignore him and proceed to navigate the secret door maze (which requires finding FOUR secret doors behind secret doors to get through, sometimes it is very hard to DM with a straight face but such is the cross DMs must bear) and arrive at a landing with a staircase leading down. As usual they cleverly avoid finding the secret chamber filled with treasure so they can continue complaining about what a stingy DM I am. They do however find a magic longbow as well as an additional elven skeleton to return for burial. They descent to a 30' wide by 40' deep chamber with alcoves along the walls. There is a double door on the north, but it is locked. As the party thief fiddles with lock, white spawn ambushers emerge from the alcoves and attack (first indications that perhaps the dragon army is involved with the fall of Candololian). After defeating the ambushers (surprise was not as effective as I had hoped), the party opens the doors to reveal an octagonal chamber containing two glowing portals and a strange device. The device resembles one of those Japanese bamboo fountains where a tube on a pivot gradually fills with water. At a certain point when there is enough water the tube pivots downwards spilling its contents into a pool below (usually with a loud clonking sound as well). Relieved of its load of water the tube swings upwards again to refill and repeat the cycle. The tube in the dungeon is made of iron 6' long and 1' diameter and has a small steel spike in the back from which blue mist drifts upwards through a hole in the ceiling. Water trickles into the tube from a glowing portal 5' above the floor and runs out through another portal behind the device at floor level. Every time the tube dumps its water a big puff of blue mist is generated. The party opens a set of double doors on the far side to reveal a staircase leading up into the blue mist. After some thought the party flips the tube over causing it to be enveloped in its own blue mist at which point it promptly vanishes (not quite the solution I had planned but quite acceptable). They then wait for the mist to clear. Once the mist clears they head up the staircase and find themselves not in a city, but instead a grove of giant trees with tree trunks 30-50' in diameter. More next time.